The Bangladeshi community wants a designated area to express their identity as it is expanding in Los Angeles, like Koreatown
On Tuesday night, thousands of Los Angeles residents gathered at the Founders Church in Koreatown to cast vote whether the neighbourhood should be divided to give people of Bangladeshi origin an identity in the City of Angels.
Currently, Bangladesh Town (also known as Little Bangladesh) is a neighbourhood located within Koreatown. The Bangladeshi community wants a designated area to express their identity as it is expanding in Los Angeles, like Koreatown.
However, Korean-Americans are opposed to the move and feel threatened by what they believe to be an encroachment on their identity.
James Kim, one such opponent, grew emotional as he told CBS2 News about his family history in the region: “My father and my grandfather in heaven, watching all these Korean people here, all these people voting — it’s unbelievable.”
Kim said as he choked back tears: “It’s really hard for me to hold back the tears.[…] My father’s friends, they brought tiles, roof tiles imported from Korea to make it look like a Korean town.”
Maruf Islam, who favours the divide, said: “It’s not about more of the voice of Bangladesh, it’s more of the voice of a diverse community.
“A diverse community includes Latinos, a diverse community includes African-Americans, Filipinos, Koreans, Indonesians, Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, and people from all nations.”
Quite a scene in #Koreatown with well over a thousand voting against application by LA Bangladesh community to expand Little Bangladesh into Koreatown. Line wraps around square block, people voting since 2pm. Don’t have to live in Koreatown to vote. More at 11pm @ABC7 pic.twitter.com/6Q009oMh3r— Josh Haskell (@abc7JoshHaskell) June 20, 2018
The voting started around 2pm (local time) and was expected to end around 8pm as dozens still waited in the voting line by 11pm, according to ABC News.
"In the future, our Bangladeshi business - everything is going to increase. That's why we need our identity here," said Sireen Sultana, a local resident.
Those opposed to a separate Little Bangladesh council said its creation could change Koreatown, according to CBS Los Angeles.
The results will be made available Wednesday, according to the organizer.